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Injured Indy 500 crewmember discharged from hospital, recovering from surgery

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INDIANAPOLIS – Chris Minot, the Rahal Letterman Lanigan crewmember who was injured during a pit top in Sunday’s 103rd Indianapolis 500, was discharged from IU Health Methodist Hospital Monday following surgery to his leg on Sunday night. The chief mechanic known as “Chachi” hopes to return to action in the NTT IndyCar Series soon.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing issued a statement on Sunday night following the Indianapolis 500.

“We were relieved to hear that Chris was in good spirits before surgery on his left leg,” the statement said. “He will be held overnight at IU Health Methodist Hospital. He has been a member of this team for almost 10 years and is a big asset. We have no doubt that he will come back stronger.”

Minot was getting ready to change the right-front tire on Jordan King’s Honda (pictured above), but King came into the pits and lost control. His car hit one of the wheels that was laid out for the pit stop and that wheel crashed into Minot, who was in his kneel down position to change the wheel.

The AMR Safety crew tended to Minot before carting him off pit lane. After a quick evaluation at the IU Health Infield Hospital, he was transported to IU Health Methodist Hospital in downtown Indianapolis.

King started 26th and had been running 21st before his second pit stop on Lap 69.  King lost control of the car and slid into the rear tire was set out to be put on and into the path of Minot, chief mechanic for the entry and outside front tire changer.  King later served a drive through penalty on Lap 80 while running in 20th place, two laps down. He went on to finish 24th.

It was his first oval race and first Indianapolis 500.

“I’m thinking about Chachi (Chris Minot) obviously,” King said. “I’m really disappointed in myself for the team, really for everybody.  I think we had a pretty strong car.  We were looking quite strong and making progress and looking at how the race finished, I think we could’ve been in the top 10, so that’s quite hard to swallow.

“First bit of call is to check that everything’s okay at the hospital.  It’s not good, it’s not what you want to do (injure a crewman).  It’s not.  I don’t even know what to say.  I’m really disappointed in myself and for everyone involved.  We could have had a good race but didn’t, so that’s that.”

Attention NASCAR teams: IMSA drivers available for Daytona!

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NASCAR will be making its debut on the Daytona International Speedway road course next month, and there’s a big fan who’d like to join the historic weekend.

This fan actually has impressive credentials, too — a few thousand laps around the 12-turn, 3.56-mile layout that annually plays host to the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.

In 2014, the winning GTLM team in the sports car endurance classic included IMSA Porsche driver Nick Tandy, who rabidly has followed NASCAR for more than 30 years since growing up in England.

So why not try racing NASCAR? Especially because Tandy has the weekend of Aug. 14-16 free.

He’s not picky, either — offering up his services on Twitter (as well as those of Porsche teammate Earl Bamber) for an ARCA, Xfinity, trucks or Cup ride.

Tandy’s affinity for American stock-car racing runs deep.

His first trip to the World Center of Racing was as a fan attending the 50th running of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 17, 2008. During Rolex testing in January, Tandy, 35, said he hadn’t missed a Cup race on TV in 15 years.

Among his favorite NASCAR drivers: the Earnhardts, Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch. When IMSA ran the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in 2014, Tandy stayed a few extra days at the Brickyard and bought Kyle Busch gear for himself and his children.

He briefly took the stage during a NASCAR weekend last October. After IMSA’s season finale at Road Atlanta, Tandy made a few demonstration laps and a burnout in his No. 911 Porsche before the Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway.

He also has some experience in stock cars, having raced Modified-type grass-roots series on England’s quarter-mile short tracks.

Couple that with a Daytona road course record that includes two consecutive podium class finishes (including last Saturday) and a sports car resume with 13 IMSA victories and an overall win in the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans … and maybe a NASCAR team should take a look.

And Tandy isn’t the only IMSA driver who likely would be available.

Corvette driver Jordan Taylor, who won the 2017 Rolex 24 overall title with Jeff Gordon as a teammate (and the inspiration for his Rodney Sandstrom persona), also tweeted his availability for the weekend on the high banks.

Sports car veteran Andy Lally, a GTD driver with multiple class wins in the Rolex 24 as well as 38 Cup starts (he was the 2011 rookie of the season in NASCAR’s premier series), also hung out his shingle.

There also is AIM Vasser Sullivan’s Jack Hawksworth (who just won at Daytona last Saturday), the Englishman who teamed with Kyle Busch at the Rolex 24 in January and made an Xfinity start at Mid-Ohio last year with Joe Gibbs Racing.

Many sports car drivers (such as Taylor) already live in Florida, and many are hunkering down in the Sunshine State with IMSA returning to action at Daytona last week and Sebring International Raceway next week. Because of COVID-19-related travel concerns and restrictions, several IMSA stars who live outside the country are riding out the pandemic within a few hours of Daytona with nothing to do.

Why not a weekend at the World Center of Racing?

Over the years, scads of “road-course ringers” (including some Formula One veterans) have tried their hands in stock cars at Sonoma Raceway and Watkins Glen International.

How about considering the many sports car drivers who already have reached victory lane at Daytona by making a few right-hand turns, too?